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Everlasting – Review

 

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Everlasting Review
Everlasting Review
Everlasting Review

 
Overview
 

Release Date: 10 February 2016 [USA]
 
Director: Anthony Stabley
 
Writer: Anthony Stabley
 
Cast: Elisabeth Röhm - Bai Ling - Michael Massee - Valentina de Angelis - Adam David
 
Direction
 
 
 
 
 


 
Writing
 
 
 
 
 


 
Performance
 
 
 
 
 


 
Sound & Music
 
 
 
 
 


 
Cinematography
 
 
 
 
 


 
Editing
 
 
 
 
 


 
Visual Effects
 
 
 
 
 


 
Total Score
 
 
 
 
 
4/5


User Rating
4 total ratings

 


0
Posted December 14, 2015 by

 
Full Article
 
 

Everlasting Review:

Fresh from a nomination for Best Feature at London’s Crystal Palace International Film Festival, Anthony Stabley’s murder mystery sees Colorado teen, Matt (Adam David), investigate the brutal killing of his troubled girlfriend, Jessie (Valentina de Angelis), following her move to Los Angeles to become a model and actress. This he does in the form of a documentary for film class, and he sets out to retrace the trip he took with Jessie when they visited the city together, before he returned to Colorado, and she stayed to pursue her dreams. Everlasting is presented as a non-linear narrative, composed of Matt’s film, interviews, news clips, Skype calls, and a slightly voyeuristic, ubiquitous POV. This gives the film a jumbled, dreamlike quality as Matt wades through a tangle of information, tip-offs, and memories to discover the truth about the final moments of the girl he loved.

Everlasting Review

The first thing to say about Everlasting is that it looks beautiful. The warm, sunny shots of Matt and Jessie lying together in long grass, laughing and running around their hometown whilst dreaming of escape, contrast starkly with the blue tones and grainy handheld footage from Matt’s post-Jessie project, and the glossy monochrome photoshoots Jessie is pressured into in LA. David and de Angelis are gorgeous young things, and Matt and Jessie court darkness and danger, believing themselves immortal in the way that teenagers do. They take shortcuts home, despite warnings from the town elders, and fantasise about being chopped up by psychopaths. For them, death – or more specifically dying young – as an abstract notion, has a certain romantic allure.

The reality is, of course, very different as the kids find out when they arrive in the City of Angels. Used to being outcasts and figures of intimidation at home, Matt and Jessie soon find themselves the targets for many of Hollywood’s predatory characters including dodgy agents and horny photographers. Stabley very successfully captures the awkward tension of these dynamics, and both David and de Angelis depict the desire to seem cool, mature, and professional whilst being totally out of their depth beautifully.

Everlasting also explores the prevalence of social media and internet content, the idea that sexual violence and extreme material can be accessed easily and draw in lost people like Jessie. Unhappy at home and mentally abused by her alcoholic mother (a brilliant if brief turn by Elisabeth Röhm), Jessie’s fragility and burgeoning self-esteem issues are highlighted by her need to be physically assaulted by Matt during sex, something he finds unsettling and stomach-churning. There’s a sense of depressing inevitability about the way Jessie walks towards her fate despite her misgivings. Indeed, her killer, at the film’s climax claims, “She imagined me and I imagined her and that’s… how it happens”, suggesting that on a subconscious level, Jessie’s seemingly innocent daydreams about serial killers and dying violently have the power to conjure or summon the real deal.

Everlasting movie still

Matt is horrified to receive a tape showing exactly what happened to his girlfriend, and claims he doesn’t want to include it in his project because it would mean making her just another dead girl. He tries to use his vlogging and filmmaking to build a picture of a life rather than death, but ends up being dragged into seeking vigilante justice, having given up on traditional justice. The belief that anyone with a camera and Wi-Fi can be a journalist now, and any pretty youth with a dream can be a star is something Stabley seems to be interested in exploring here.

When Matt finally tracks Jessie’s killer (it would be wrong of me to reveal his identity here, but suffice to say he’s played by an actor who always ramps the menace up to eleven), he is robbed of his chance to enact vengeance. In fact, the denouement is something of an anti-climax, but that is exactly the point. Evil lurks in the banal. There is rarely a big, filmic motive for acts of violence. Killers are compelled by rage or lust, and that’s all the explanation and cold comfort those left behind will ever receive.

Thematically reminiscent of Joel Schumacher’s 8mm, and with a soundtrack and aesthetic (minus the cartoonish splatterpunk sequences) that recalls Gregg Araki’s Teen Apocalypse Trilogy, Everlasting is dark, sexy, horrifying, and moving by turns. There are some great supporting turns (Bai Ling plays calculating honey trap Cristiane with icy aplomb) and the two young leads do a great job of conveying the desperation and insecurities of young love. Both characters are flawed, but we still care for them. There are no easy answers in Everlasting, but it serves as a thought-provoking, stylish, and haunting meditation on the underbelly of Tinseltown, and the double edged sword of getting what you wish for.

Everlasting cast member

Read our Interview with the filmmakers here!

 

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Katie Young
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